The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of hip joint angles to the production of the pelvic rotation torque in fast-pitch softball hitting and to examine the effect of ball height on this production. Thirteen advanced female softball players hit stationary balls at three different heights: high, middle, and low. The pelvic rotation torque, defined as the torque acting on the pelvis through the hip joints about the pelvic superior–inferior axis, was determined from the kinematic and force plate data using inverse dynamics. Irrespective of the ball heights, the rear hip extension, rear hip external rotation, front hip adduction, and front hip flexion torques contributed to the production of pelvic rotation torque. Although the contributions of the adduction and external rotation torques at each hip joint were significantly different among the ball heights, the contributions of the front and rear hip joint torques were similar among the three ball heights owing to cancelation of the two torque components. The timings of the peaks of the hip joint torque components were significantly different, suggesting that softball hitters may need to adjust the timings of the torque exertions fairly precisely to rotate the upper body effectively.
Yoichi Iinoand Takeji Kojima are with the Department of Life Sciences in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. Atsushi Fukushima is with the Denso women’s softball team at Denso Corporation in the Aichi Prefecture, Japan.